Silvertown Tunnel gets the go ahead

May 16 2018   | Region: London

Silvertown Tunnel gets the go ahead
Stakeholders are split on the Government’s decision to approve London’s planned Silvertown Tunnel, with some looking forward to expected economic benefits but others fearing a rise in pollution as a result of the project.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling granted Transport for London a Development Consent Order to deliver the twin bore road tunnel beneath the Thames in east London at the end of last week.
The structure is likely to open in 2023 to help ease current congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel and improve both journey time reliability and road network resilience in the area.
But London Assembly Transport Committee member Caroline Russell of the Green Party said: “The Government’s decision to push ahead with Silvertown Tunnel, ignoring our fears over worsening London’s terrible air pollution, is plain wrong.
“Some of the most deprived communities in east London, who do not drive, will have their lives and health blighted by this for decades to come.”
Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner Jenny Bates added: “Road building schemes such as this should have no place in a modern capital’s transport system where the Mayor wants to cut traffic levels and lower air pollution. 
“A full package of cleaner alternatives including walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure would be far better for the health of Londoners, and the attractiveness of the area.”
However the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said new river crossings are vital for the future prosperity of east London, adding that the Silvertown Tunnel would unlock new jobs and economic growth while easing congestion and poor air quality.
Revised plans for the project developed as part of the six month public inquiry, he said, place a greater focus on cleaner transport including investment in active travel infrastructure and ensuring buses using the tunnel meet the highest Euro VI emission standards.
Also welcoming the Secretary of State’s decision, London First infrastructure director David Leam said: “The existing crossing at Blackwall is a notorious congestion blackspot that can cause traffic paralysis across south east London.
“Silvertown is an essential part of TfL’s plans to improve public transport in east London and vital to keeping the whole city moving.”
London Chamber of Commerce & Industry chief executive Colin Stanbridge said: “To know that the Silvertown Tunnel will finally go ahead is a cause for celebration and relief. As London grows towards megacity status, we need more fixed river crossings in London as a step towards solving so many of the capital’s issues.”
Transport for London is now working with local boroughs, landowners and stakeholders to outline the next steps for the project and will be progressing procurement of a contractor to deliver the tunnel.
The scheme will be privately financed through a design, build, finance and maintain contract, with the successful bidder receiving payments from TfL once the tunnel is open and available for use. These will be made in part via a user charge on both the new tunnel and the existing Blackwall Tunnel.
The preferred bidder is set to be announced this winter and the contract awarded in early 2019, so that construction can begin later next year.
(Image: TfL)

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